See more synonyms for habit on Thesaurus.com
  1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.
  2. customary practice or use: Daily bathing is an American habit.
  3. a particular practice, custom, or usage: the habit of shaking hands.
  4. a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality: She has a habit of looking at the bright side of things.
  5. addiction, especially to narcotics (often preceded by the).
  6. mental character or disposition: a habit of mind.
  7. characteristic bodily or physical condition.
  8. the characteristic form, aspect, mode of growth, etc., of an organism: a twining habit.
  9. the characteristic crystalline form of a mineral.
  10. garb of a particular rank, profession, religious order, etc.: a monk's habit.
  11. the attire worn by a rider of a saddle horse.
verb (used with object)
  1. to clothe; array.

Origin of habit

1175–1225; Middle English < Latin habitus state, style, practice, equivalent to habi- (variant stem of habēre to have) + -tus verbal noun suffix; replacing Middle English abit < Old French

Synonyms for habit

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
2. bent, wont. 10. dress, costume. 12. dress, garb, attire; deck out.

Synonym study

3. See custom.


verb (used with object)
  1. Archaic. to dwell in.
verb (used without object)
  1. Obsolete. to dwell.

Origin of habit

1325–75; Middle English habiten < Latin habitāre to inhabit; see habitat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for habit

Contemporary Examples of habit

Historical Examples of habit

  • In you I was sure of a mind strong enough to break the fetters of habit.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • It was his habit to affect that he constantly forgot his mother's name.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • She was not a woman in the habit of reasoning, and had no conception of the difficulties in his way.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • I am in the habit of boarding at a quiet house kept by a widow.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • At first you kept on wondering what the joke was, till you saw it was only a habit Sarah had.

British Dictionary definitions for habit


  1. a tendency or disposition to act in a particular way
  2. established custom, usual practice, etc
  3. psychol a learned behavioural response that has become associated with a particular situation, esp one frequently repeated
  4. mental disposition or attitudea good working habit of mind
    1. a practice or substance to which a person is addicteddrink has become a habit with him
    2. the state of being dependent on something, esp a drug
  5. botany zoology the method of growth, type of existence, behaviour, or general appearance of a plant or animala climbing habit; a burrowing habit
  6. the customary apparel of a particular occupation, rank, etc, now esp the costume of a nun or monk
  7. Also called: riding habit a woman's riding dress
  8. crystallog short for crystal habit
verb (tr)
  1. to clothe
  2. an archaic word for inhabit, habituate

Word Origin for habit

C13: from Latin habitus custom, from habēre to have
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for habit

early 13c., "characteristic attire of a religious or clerical order," from Old French habit, abit (12c.) "clothing, (ecclesiastical) habit; conduct," from Latin habitus "condition, demeanor, appearance, dress," originally past participle of habere "to have, to hold, possess," from PIE root *ghabh- "to seize, take, hold, have, give, receive" (cf. Sanskrit gabhasti- "hand, forearm;" Old Irish gaibim "I take, hold, I have," gabal "act of taking;" Lithuanian gabana "armful," gabenti "to remove;" Gothic gabei "riches;" Old English giefan, Old Norse gefa "to give").

Base sense probably "to hold," which can be either in offering or in taking. Applied in Latin to both inner and outer states of being, and taken over in both sense by English, though meaning of "dress" is now restricted to monks and nuns. Meaning "customary practice" is early 14c. Drug sense is from 1887.


mid-14c., "to dwell," from Old French habiter "to dwell, inhabit; have dealings with," from Latin habitare "to live, dwell," frequentative of habere "to have, to hold, possess" (see habit (n.)). Meaning "to dress" is from 1580s; "to habituate" from 1610s; "to make a habit of" from 1660s. Related: Habited; habiting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

habit in Medicine


  1. A recurrent, often unconscious, pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.
  2. Physical constitution.
  3. An addiction, especially to a narcotic drug.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

habit in Science


  1. The characteristic shape of a crystal, such as the cubic habit that is characteristic of pyrite.
  2. The characteristic manner of growth of a plant. For example, grape plants and ivy display a vining habit.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with habit


see kick a habit.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.